Walgreens store in Georgia cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA
for repeat and serious safety violations; $104,500 in fines proposed
LITHONIA, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the Walgreens Co. store on Covington Highway in Lithonia with four safety violations for exposing workers to struck-by and other hazards. Penalties total $104,500.
Three repeat violations with $99,000 in penalties include exposing employees to being struck by unsecured compressed gas cylinders; allowing workers to use an A-frame stepladder to carry inventory up and down, and then step from the ladder onto a storage shelf to load and retrieve products without guardrails or fall protection; and failing to ensure exit routes are not blocked. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited for the same three violations in May 2008 at a Chicago, Ill., location.
One serious violation with a $5,500 penalty was cited for allowing electrical panel access to be blocked by display material, plastics totes and inventory. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"This employer failed to address common and basic hazards posed by blocked exits, falls from heights and being struck by a heavy gas cylinder," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office, which conducted an investigation in January. "All employers have a responsibility to keep the work environment safe for their employees."
Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens Co., a chain of pharmacy/retail stores, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Atlanta-East office, 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga. 30084; telephone 770-493-6644. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.